Federal Officials Are Considering Whether Bump Stocks Should Be Banned

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Two months after the Las Vegas shooting, ATF said it has begun reviewing whether it has the authority to ban bump stocks, a device that allowed the shooter to essentially convert weapons into automatic ones, the Sacramento Bee reports. The article stated that the NRA was the reason bump stocks were legal and still are legal.

A bump-fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, October 4.

The Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - which regulates firearms but not gun accessories - will determine whether the devices, which make a semi-automatic weapon perform like an automatic weapon, are illegal. Bump stocks achieved national infamy after gunman Stephen Paddock used them when he opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas in early October, killing 58 people and injuring almost 500.

The agencies said in a joint statement they're looking to clarify whether certain bump stock devices can be defined as "machine guns", which are tightly regulated under federal law. The attack killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more. Though lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill to the House of Representatives, Republicans shied away from a legislative fix and suggested a regulatory solution from the ATF would yield better results.

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A bump stock is a device that can be legally purchased and installed onto semi-automatic firearms, such as AR-15, AK-47, and Saiga models, replacing the rifles' standard stocks at the butt of the gun.

"I believe we must pass this legislation so the law is clear: bump stocks do not belong in our country", said Democratic Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

Another concern raised by Grassley: even if Congress banned bump stocks, the ATF confirmed at the hearing a similar tool could be made using 3-D printing technology.

Sessions explained the Justice Department will follow the regulatory process required by law, which includes opening a public commenting period.

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